United manager John Sheridan admitted that he is as caught up in the excitement of the kick off for the new season as everyone else as he prepares to take his team on the long trip to Exeter this weekend.
“I think I’d be daft if I didn’t feel the excitement,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to it. It’s been a long pre-season but now it gets to the bit we’ve all been working towards.
“It’s a long journey and it’s going to be a difficult game but there’ll be no excuses from us. I’m going there buoyant, positive and confident that we’re going to get something from it, because we’re going there to try to win it. There’s a big difference between three points and one point, so I want all of them.”
On what he’ll be asking from his squad, he told us: “What I want more than anything else is for us to believe in ourselves.
“I want us to think about ourselves and what we can do more than the opposition, even though we do work hard on making sure we know what we think they will do.
“There are some good players here and I want us to have a good season. I’ve seen good signs over the last few weeks and I think we showed against Bradford and Fylde that we look a decent side.
“It’s going to be a long, long season, probably 55 games if things go as we want them to in the cup competitions, so we’ve got to be prepared to do the work that goes with it. If we do the work we’ll be competing at the right end of the table, which is where we are all aiming to be.
“Touch wood, pre-season has gone well for us. We’ve steered clear of injuries, which is important when it’s a small squad. It’s a strong squad as well, particularly if I can keep the 15 so-called first team players remaining injury free.”
“Once we get out on the pitch, I want us to be hard to beat and organised,” he explained. “Likewise I want us to be adventurous, especially at home in front of our own fans.
“Winning is the most important thing for me, but if you can win attractive it’s even better. If we’re doing well the fans will come back, and that makes this a good place to come and play football.
“I’ve made no secret about it, I’ve come to this club to do well. If that’s happening I get noticed, so I’m thinking about myself and the club, and I’m thinking about getting us out of this division. That’s what I want to do.”
And on building up a relationship with the fans, he commented: “Like I’ve said before, if we’ve winning games and getting off to a good start I know the supporters will back us.
“That’s one of the reasons why I came here because I know they’re out there and I know they’re desperate for this club to do well.
“I don’t want any negativity, it isn’t nice, but I’m not stupid. If things aren’t going well on the pitch they get worried and frustrated. The fans want the club to win and I want them to feel confident that’s exactly what we’re going to be doing for them.
“I can say all the right things, but I know that if the team is winning games the fans will come back, there’s no doubt about that.”
“For everybody at the club, on and off the pitch, it’s about creating a winning mentality,” he said. “I want my players to hurt if they’re not winning, because that’s what the staff will be like.
“I don’t like losing, it’s not a good feeling, so hopefully we’ll develop that winning mentality and it will stand us in good stead.”
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